Academic Libraries

The Deserted Library

Martin Raish writes \"As academic libraries spend more money on electronic resources, and less on \"traditional\" materials, our students are spending less time in the reading room and more in the computer labs. \"The shift leaves many librarians and scholars wondering and worrying about the future of what has traditionally been the social and intellectual heart of campus, as well as about whether students are learning differently now -- or learning at all,\" says Scott Carlson.

Chronicle of Higher Education, 16 November \"

SAA Responds to Presidential Paper Restrictions

An excerpt from SAA President Steve Hensen\'s letter to Congress:

I write to express the grave concern of the Society of American Archivists with respect to the President’s recent Executive Order 13233 on Presidential Papers . . .

Our apprehension over this Executive Order is on several levels. First, it violates both the spirit and letter of existing U.S. law on access to presidential papers . . . This law establishes the principle that presidential records are the property of the United States government and that the management and custody of, as well as access to, such records should be governed by the Archivist of the United States and established archival principles—all within the statutory framework of the act itself. The Executive Order puts the responsibility for these decisions with the President, and indeed with any sitting President into the future. Access to the vital historical records of this nation should not be governed by executive decree; this is why the existing law was created . . .

Second, on a broader level this Executive Order potentially threatens to undermine one of the very foundations of our nation. Free and open access to information is the cornerstone to modern democratic societies around the world . . .

More. Thanks to librarian.net.

Smithsonian Museum and E-Bay Acquire Florida\'s Voting Machines

One of the voting machines used in the Florida year-2000 Presidential election is being immortalized in the Smithsonian Institute\'s Museum of American History. The remaining 3,499 machines are being auctioned off on E-Bay. \"The county is asking a minimum bid of $300 for a voting machine with brass plaque, a butterfly ballot, a certificate of authenticity, 25 sample punch-card ballots and a signed photo of the canvassing board. For a $600 minimum bid, they\'ll throw in all that, plus an aluminum ballot box.\"
more

Bush Clamping Down On Presidential Papers

From yesterday\'s Washington Post:

The Bush White House has drafted an executive order that would usher in a new era of secrecy for presidential records and allow an incumbent president to withhold a former president\'s papers even if the former president wanted to make them public.

The five-page draft would also require members of the public seeking particular documents to show \"at least a \'demonstrated, specific need\' \" for them before they would be considered for release . . .

\"The executive branch is moving heavily into the nether world of dirty tricks, very likely including directed assassinations overseas and other violations of American norms and the U.N. charter,\" said Vanderbilt University historian Hugh Graham. \"There is going to be so much to hide.\"

More.

Safeguarding European Photographic Images for Access

Mark writes \"SEPIA (Safeguarding European Photographic Images for Access) is a EU-funded project focusing on preservation of photographic materials. On this website (http://www.knaw.nl/ecpa/sepia/) you will find information about :

research: \'scanning equipment and handling procedures\', \'preservation aspects of digitisation\', \'ethics of digitisation\' and \'descriptive models for photographic materials\'

news and events: containing announcements and press releases about the latest SEPIA news, a calendar of events and references to relevant resources
training: about SEPIA workshops, seminar and national SEPIA training events
orginal proposals for SEPIA I and SEPIA II
SEPIA partners and associate partners: cooperating SEPIA institutions
This website is also a platform and a source of information for anyone who wants to know more about the preservation of photographic materials.
\"

Milestones of Academic Librarianship

The ALA (Actually The ACRL) has put together Over 100 years of progress, a list of milestones of academic librarianship.

They run from 1876
• American Library Association founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Among its founders were three major figures in American librarianship: Justin Winsor, William Frederick Poole, and Melvil Dewey.

Up to 1998
• Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 and Copyright Term Extension Act.

They seem to have missed, Nov 2 1999, LISNews is launched

Re-inventing the wheel

I\'ve been meaning to post this story for a while as it annoyed me so much when I first read it, I even contemplated writing a letter to the editor. In this recent story, The Stanford Daily describes Bookshare, an initiative set up by students last year. The students relate how they came up with the idea;
\"[we] were sitting in our room, staring at our full bookshelves and feeling depressed over the amount of money we had spent on textbooks for one quarter\"
So, they came up with a radical solution: create an alternative to buying books at the campus bookstore by setting up an online database of books available for students to loan out to one another for a fixed period of time.
Apparently other University campuses are interested in the system, which is described as being \"based on Napster\". The system is being expanded to Movieshare, Gameshare and CDshare. Sound familiar? Can anyone say \"library\"? Argh! Anyone else feeling this frustration? Don\'t they realise what libraries are there for?

Glasgow University fire destroys Darwin manuscript

Charles Davis writes \"A fire at Glasgow University has destroyed first edition
works of Charles Darwin.
The fire caused £8m of damage, and university officials
describe the losses of original manuscripts as \'tragic\'.
It\'s thought the fire started in roof space used for storage in the 100-year-old Bower building.
Professor John Coggins has told The Daily Telegraph
about the lost documents.
\"Some of these would have included works by Darwin but
what is more irreplaceable is the loss of original
manuscripts, \" he said.
More at
The Telegraph


\"Although we may have duplicates of these in the university\'s library, it is tragic that we have lost the originals.\"

Can LOC Preserve its 35 terabytes?

Luis Acosta writes \"Short article in MIT\'s Technology Review on the Library of Congress\'s effort to figure out how to preserve digital information:\"


Congress recently gave the library $100 million to figure out what to do with all that stuff.

\"With that money we\'ll be able to gather the technical people and the archivists and start to develop a prototype,\"

USC Library Reopens After \"Seismic Retrofitting\"

The University of Southern California\'s Edward L. Doheny Memorial Library has been outfitted to withstand earthquakes:

The 650,000-volume library, a focus of research in the humanities and social sciences, has been a striking example of Italian Romanesque architecture on the campus since it opened in 1932 . . .

The library was damaged like so many other Los Angeles buildings in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. USC used funds granted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover most of the costs of building 17 shear walls to strengthen the structure against lateral movement from earthquakes.

More from the Los Angeles Times.

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